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About Me

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  1. The following article was originally published in the March, 1966 issue of Iron Man entitled "The Boys From Belleville". Phil Grippaldi may not be a physique title winner, but he certainly has a magnificent physique that is all solid muscle, and has some of the largest, if not the largest, muscular arms of any teenager in the world, with 20 inches, which he possessed at the age of 16. He amazed the audience and the officials when he came out to lift at the Teenage Nationals this year. Such size, muscularity and power is just too unbelievable in a teenager! His chest of 50" tapers to a waist of 32. Big biceps don't grow on trees, but in Belleville, New Jersey they grow, and grow, and grow on two young giants. Phil, the small giant, has 20-1/4 inch arms. Mike, the large economy giant, has 22 inch arms. Mike is also the bashful giant, allowing no measurements or exercise or physique shots at the moment because his arms are down from their usual 23 inches. Phil Grippaldi, whom followers of Lifting News know from his string of successes in Olympic lifting. Phil is fast becoming a legend. Mike Guibilo, who is known only to his intimates and to others by a few news items in the strength magazines. Mike is fast becoming a myth. IronMan, which deals only in facts, enjoys smashing legends and exploding myths. So we sent out ace myth-buster to Belleville to have a look-see. He reports that unless measuring tapes shrink on the long trip from California to New Jersey, the legend is truth and the myth more fact than fiction. The tape had discovered its first ever 19-inch arm in Chicago, but it was hardly prepared for the massive chunk of muscle that Phil Grippaldi calls his arm. Phil Grippaldi and Mike Guibilo are training partners. Mike is a fabulous giant of a man being 6'4" and weighing 248 pounds and more at times. His arm goes as high as 23 inches, with a chest of over 58 at times when weighing 265. His thighs at that weight are 26 with calves of 18. He has a terrific forearm of 18" and as far as we know has never been beaten at wrist wrestling. Mike became interested in weight training at about eleven, but didn't get really started until he was thirteen. Now, at about 21, his huge upper body tapers down to a tiny 32 inch waist. Mike is very religious in the regularity of his training and works extremely hard every day. He has never permitted anyone to take his photo stripped but has promised some photos for IronMan soon. But take a look at the pictures of Phil (photo above). The right arm is 20, the left is 20-1/4, and it's hard muscle too. Phil had been working them for over an hour before the pictures were taken, as he's determined to get them up to 20-1/2 cold by summer's end. He can throw a 49-1/2 inch chest, a 32 waist and 25-1/2 inch thighs into the measurement pile to go along with his arms. Things were not always so for Phil. When he started working out at 14 ("I wanted to get bigger"), he spread his skinny 140 pounds on a 5'4" frame. He made steady increases with no real sticking points. By the time he was 16, he already had a 20 inch arm at 5'6" in height. But he weighed a fleshy 215 and he was bulky but not hard, big but not shapely. Now at 5-8 and about 200, he has size, shape, hardness - and still a 20" arm. Phil works under a handicap of sorts; he confines his bodybuilding to the summertime when lifting is dormant in his area. It also happens to be the time when his coach, Butch Toth of the Keasby Eagles closes the gym and goes fishing. Butch looks down his nose at power lifting and passionately dislikes bodybuilding. So Phil has only a hurried three month program to work on his arm goal as he has to let his arms drop back to about 19 inches to control the weight properly in the clean. In spite of the arm kick, Phil has no aspirations as a bodybuilder; he's too good an Olympic lifter for that. In the year and a half he's been lifting, he has entered close to a dozen meets. He has one third place, one second, and the rest firsts to his credit. Only three of these meets were teenage meets. His best individual lifts (practice or meet) were all made in the same meet - 305, 370, 340, for a 915 total. So, it's obvious that Phil is a competition lifter. His goal in lifting for the coming year is a 950 total. He could also make it as a power lifter, although he's never entered that kind of competition. He has bench pressed 430, squatted with 505 (he did 420 when still 15), and can dead lift 600. If all put together in one meet, he would have beaten the present Junior National champion by 90 pounds. But don't get the idea that it is only his uncommon strength and development that set Phil apart from other teenagers (these pictures were taken one month after his 19th birthday). He has the drive and enthusiasm expected of youth, but he also has a maturity that belies his years. His exposure and travel in competition have helped; but it's his frank assessment of his achievements and his clear-eyed setting of attainable goals that impress. There is no conceit, no dwelling on his accomplishments - just a stating of them as a prelude to greater achievements to come. And there is no apology for limited goals. When they are achieved (and with Phil you get the idea it's only a question of when, not if ), there will be others. And they'll undoubtedly be met too, because Phil sets his sights on what he knows is possible for him and leaves the wishes to others. And what is that Grippaldi Arm Routine? It's borrowed from his coach, Mike Guibilo. Phil and Mike are workout partners; both have well equipped basement gyms where they work out alone or together. Mike sets up the torso routines for the two of them; Phil works out the leg routines. Phil's summer routine is split into a two day routine, six days a week. He uses 8 repetitions on all sets, feeling that this number is the best for him in in attaining a desirable amount of definition. He uses maximum weight in all sets to gain the utmost in size. Even though we have a picture of Phil doing a situp, he's a stranger to the board. He doesn't use it in bodybuilding, and he's a strict type of presser who hasn't found the need for additional abdominal strength to develop a whip-press. First Day Bent Arm Laterals. Press Behind Neck (seated, from bench press rack). 4 sets of alternate DB curls. 4 sets of DB peak contraction curls (photo above). 4 sets of French presses. The above is the afternoon workout. In the evening he tapers off with 8 sets of squats. Second Day 8 sets of Bent Arm Pullovers. 8 sets of seated alternate DB curls. 4 sets of barbell cheat curls. 4 sets of French presses. 4 sets of incline curls. Phil finds a problem in warming up his thick muscles; this is complicated by an old football knee injury which bothers him when lifting. He's given up football completely for lifting now. In competition or practice he finds he has to warm up at least 15 minutes, preferably 30. During the lifting season he warms up, works on the three lifts in order, for form then does high pulls, front squats, and squat cleans with increasing weight. Then if Butch isn't looking, he may work in a curl or two. Mike doesn't have a lifting coach looking over his shoulder. He is strictly a bodybuilder and has been since he was 13. Unlike Phil who was short and skinny when he started, Mike was tall and skinny - 5'11" and 130 pounds. He played school football but always there was bodybuilding - five days a week, usually two sessions a day, one spell of 3-1/2 years without a single break and never more than 3 or 4 days without a workout. A killing routine, but Mike has the results to show for his efforts. In the pictures of Mike and Phil together, Mike is wearing a sweater that seems to be bulky. But that bulk is all Mike and the sweater is stuffed with nothing but muscles. Mike is at a crossroads now. He is trying to decide whether to take the quick way to sudden glory via the professional contest or the slower amateur path first with its broader-based competition, greater coverage and more significant titles. In any event, he just finished a two month layoff because he felt he was growing stale. He was just now commencing a new routine to give greater emphasis to his legs which he admits do not match his torso. Even after his long layoff he could still claim a cold 22 inch arm, 32 waist, 25.5 thighs and 56.75 chest at 6'4" and 248 pounds. He has been about 15 pounds heavier but he feels that ultimately on his frame he can best carry a 22.5 inch cold arm and a 57.5 to 58 inch chest. Mike is only 20 now but has not set a definite period yet in which to achieve his goals. Perhaps the fact that he intends to marry shortly with a resultant change in workout routines makes him cautious about predictions. If determination and hard work count for anything, Mike is halfway there already. Look at Mike Guibilo's Training Routine before his layoff: He had a day routine that took 3.5 hours and an evening routine that took 1.5 hours - no talk, no long rest, just workout - 5 to 6 days a week. Day Routine 1. Bench press varying the position of the incline but not the weight or the sets which were always 3 with 8-10 reps each. He had 5 positions from flat on up through the four notches of his bench to nearly 90-degree incline. He has done a wide grip, touch and go bench press with 548 lbs). 2. Seated press behind neck (the basement ceiling is too low to permit him to stand, and besides, he feels he gets more or what he wants out of this way ), 4 sets, 6-8 reps, 350 lbs. 3. High pulls, 4 sets x 5 reps up to a maximum of 450. 4. Dumbbell curls (strict, as are all of his exercises for maximum benefit ), 8 sets, 8 reps, 68 pounders. 5. Cheat curls (the only exception to the strict maxim), 3 sets, 5 reps, 325 lbs. 6. Peak contraction curls between the legs, 5 sets, 8 reps, 68 pounds. 7. Bent arm pullovers. 8. Situps on the board, 1 set of 150-200 reps, bodyweight. Evening Routine 1. Sometimes squats, depending on how he feels. 2. Kneeling military press (remember that ceiling? ), 3 sets, 2-3 reps, 300 pounds. 3. Peak contraction curls again, but only with 55 pounds. 4. Straight arm pullovers, 4 sets, 5 reps, 285 lbs Both workouts, 5 to 6 days a week. Mike has found over the years that he could make gains for about 6-8 months before reaching a sticking point. Then he'd change routines and continue on to the next sticking point. While the above routine is highly specialized, remember it was the latest of many Mike has devised for his own needs and desires. His torso development seems unbalanced, but Mike has no intentions of entering contests until he can present overall balance. Until then the myth of Mike will grow, and grow, and grow.
  2. The Legendary Leroy Colbert Training Philosophy (1977) By Howard Alpert When the definitive history of bodybuilding is written, a significant section will be devoted to a man who 'rewrote' the rules of training and whose physical development still remains as a standard that other bodybuilders try to reach. In an era when a 16-inch arm was considered very good and an 18-inch one was something that trainees dreamed about, the fabulous Leroy Colbert smashed all barriers by developing a 21-inch muscular arm. Only a near-tragic accident (Motorcycle accident in 1955 ) prevented him from going on after winning the Mr. Eastern America title to become Mr. America and Mr. Universe. Leroy loved his motorcycles However, the unfortunate event had a silver lining. It gave Leroy some time to seriously think about his future. He knew that he wanted to find a career doing something that would help people live a healthier life. At first, Leroy thought about opening his own gym. Then he realized that he could reach many more people if he had a health food store. The idea of opening a traditional health food store was not in keeping with the Colbert desire to do things in a bigger and better way than they had been done before. Finally, Leroy decided to open a 'health department store'. Today, Leroy and his lovely wife Jacqueline own and operate the two World Health Centers in New York City. These are unique establishments that contain everything from protein supplements and vitamins to fresh organic vegetables, fish, eggs, and meats, all of which are delivered daily. In addition, each store contains a large selection of exercise equipment. Leroy Colbert and Wife Jacqueline When I discussed with Leroy the idea of doing an article about his training philosophy the concepts that helped him to develop one of the greatest physiques ever seen, he graciously said that he would be only too happy to provide this information for readers. If you could see the busy schedule Leroy maintains during a typical day, you would get a better understanding of how difficult it was for him to set aside time for an interview. You would also get a clearer realization that he is so dedicated to helping others that he did provide the time even though it meant extending his working day well into the night. Leroy Colbert at 15 Years Old Before Leroy stated his training ideas, he wanted to be sure that I set down his views on using steroids. You know me long enough to know that I rarely get angry. But when guys come in here and tell me that the only way they can build a good physique is by using steroids, I want to grab them by their necks and shake some sense into their heads. How can anyone be so foolish as to play Russian roulette with his health? Fortunately, I have been able to convince a considerable number of fellows that steroids aren't necessary by showing them photos of the guys that were my contemporaries when I was competing. How many bodybuilders today can equal the development of Jack Delinger, George Eiferman, Marvin Eder, Reg Park, and, if you want to talk about the defined and vascular physique that is in vogue today, which of the present day stars would like to compete against Roy Hilligenn or Bob Hinds when they were at their peak? Oh yes, there were also a couple of fellows named Bruce Randall (photo below ) and Enrico Thomas who would have given today's competitors a few nervous moments. All of these guys and many, many more built their bodies to exceptionally high levels of development, and they did it the way we did it at that time - through consistently hard training. And we didn't have the information that the guys today have. Nor did we have the different types of supplements - liquid, predigested, even without any carbohydrates. All we knew was that if you wanted to gain weight and size, you trained like the devil and ate everything in sight. When you wanted to cut down, you trained like the devil and ate less. If we had the facts on nutrition that are common knowledge today, we probably could have gotten results in half the time. No, I repeat that the most foolish thing a bodybuilder can do is to take a chemical substance into his body, a substance whose side-effects are potentially so dangerous and that was never intended to be used by healthy people. With that off my chest, let me say a few things about training. When I started to train, the 'rule' was that you never did more than three sets for a bodypart. I wanted a body so badly that after using the three-sets idea for a while, I just decided I had to try something else. As I recall, Marvin Eder (Photo below) decided one day that we would do 10 sets of each exercise we were using instead of the usual three. Then we swore that we would meet again early the next morning to see if we were both still alive. When we felt the difference from training that way and found out that we both lived through it, I threw the 'rule book' out the window and started to grow as I never had been able to do up until that time. From that workout on, I decided to use my head. I used many types of routines until I found the ones that worked best for me. What I found was that 10 sets was the minimum I could use for my 'easy-growing' parts. Usually I did 15 sets for most parts and sometimes went as high as 20 sets a workout for those parts that were really stubborn. I found that working with very heavy weights that forced you to do the exercises slowly was not as effective as working with a weight in a continuously moving manner until you completed the set. I don't mean working so fast that you use sloppy form, but I mean that you don't actually pause at the top or bottom of a repetition but just keep moving the weight in a controlled, steady way. Notice that I said "controlled." I believe that you can't fully control a weight that is so heavy that you can barely do your reps with it. I get much better results by using a weight that makes you work but not one that you have to 'kill' yourself with to get through the exercise. I mentioned before that I usually did a certain amount of sets for a particular area. Actually what I did was to go more by the feel of the muscle and the pump I was getting. If I found that I was beginning to lose the pump in an area I was working, I would stop exercising it even if I hadn't completed the number of sets I planned to do. I found that any sets that weren't increasing the pump were a waste and perhaps were even overtraining the muscle. On average, though, I usually did about 15 sets for most areas. I used to change my workout around every two or three months. I found that if I tried to stay on exactly the same program month after month, I would go stale. Sometimes I would change several of the exercises. Other times I would just rearrange the order of the exercises. For example, if I was doing chins, pulldowns and rowing for my back, I might change my routine by beginning with rowing and finishing with chins. Sometimes I might switch to dumbbell rowing, bent-arm pullovers, and close-grip chins. There is an endless variety of changes that can be made. I found that each new program was a new challenge. 70 lbs Dumbbell Curls with Tom Sansone When I did exercises like squats, bench presses, or deadlifts, exercises for which you would use sizable poundages, I would begin with about 2/3 of the weight I could handle on my heaviest set. I would work up to sets of 8 reps until I hit my top set of 8. This would take about four sets. Then I would drop back for two finishing sets of 8. For exercises that didn't require heavy poundages, I would generally stay with one weight for all my sets. I always kept the repetitions on my exercises between 8 and 10. I think that it is important to maintain a fast pace throughout the workout. I always began my next set as soon as my breathing returned near normal. I found that the more work I could do in a given period of time, the better I would respond. I think that if I had only one thought that I wanted readers to remember, it would be that consistency in training is the thing that separates the best from the ordinary. Train heavier on the days that you feel strong and lighter on those days that you really don't feel great, but don't miss a workout. Every champ I trained with rarely missed a workout. I don't mean that you should train if you are really sick, though we did because we wanted to build our bodies with such a deep intensity that we wouldn't even let illness stand in our way. Just don't let laziness cause you to miss a workout. Cut your poundages in half just to get into a workout on a real 'down' day. Very often by the time the workout is over, you will find it has been one of your better sessions. With these concluding comments, Leroy said that he had to get back to work. Time had passed so quickly that the bright sunshine had been replaced by darkness. Judging by the pile of papers on Leroy's desk, I knew that he would be having a very late supper that night. But as we shook hands, he smiled and thanked me for giving him the opportunity to convey his thoughts to readers. I might add, and the photographs that accompany this article will substantiate it, that although Leroy expressed many of his ideas in the past tense he is still training regularly and is in excellent condition. Leroy Colbert is one of the greatest champions the bodybuilding world has produced. His achievements and philosophy will remain as a permanent legacy to inspire the bodybuilders of today and of the future. MORE PHOTOS... RIP Leroy (1933 - 2015). A lot of personal content by Leroy on training etc is on Youtube. You can also check out Leroy's website! If anyone has information or stories on Leroy please share below in the comments section.
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